Team Black Cobra

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Name Black Cobra (Simple Point Map)

Topic: Visualizing campaign finance money contributions by geographic location, now by date!

Members: Jeffrey Wong, Michael Tahani, Stephen Cagle, Barret Schloerke

Summary: Where is the support money coming from?

Goal: Understanding the flow of campaign distributions is difficult at the best of times. Human beings are much better at understanding visual information than rows or figures. Being able to visually see the flow of money, as it moves to different parties, is more striking than any amount of text data. We are attempting to make something that motivates and inspires, by presenting a visual summation of a large amount of data in a accessible fashion.

The proof of concept is a map of campaign contributions for 2007 and 2008 by their location.

Methodology: Our data was gathered from the bulk data section of We then extracted the positional information, amount, and party affiliation of all contributions for 2008. This information was then converted into a JSON format, so that it could be easily read from a Javascript client. Details were then handled, such as gathering the bounding information for state bounding data, art assets, and css layouts. Finally, d3 was used to beautify, illustrate, and animate the retrieved JSON data.

Future Work: We would like to generalize this project such that it could be easily used by others. Currently, our system only needs a set of fairly flat data containing the latitude, longitude, and radii of the circles you wish to draw. Files (each corresponding to a day) of this flat data are loaded as needed.

The details are not that important. The point is that by imposing a small template on the nature of the CSV data, we could accept a simple CSV file rather than using JSON. This would allow a non-programmer to use our project for their own mapping purposes.

Prize Categories: Best Visualization


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